Bleak House now showing in Australia
Posted at 10:26 AM (PDT) on Monday, July 3, 2006

What the Dickens
By Michael Idato
The Sydney Morning Herald
July 3, 2006

When the long-running alien conspiracy drama The X Files ended in 2002 after nine years, its flame-haired star Gillian Anderson was at a professional crossroads. Her success on American TV, as the cool, adroit FBI special agent Dana Scully, made her a household name. Greater things should have followed. In the eyes of casting directors, however, she was a square peg in a city of round holes.

"It is a particular dilemma," Anderson says. "With someone like Jennifer Aniston, who was on television for a long time playing a specific character, what she has to offer in Friends is easily translatable to film, in terms of romantic comedy. You can see the marketable options.

"With Scully, I think, producers and directors have a hard time seeing how having Scully in their films would be beneficial and marketable. What they're not doing is taking into consideration that I might actually be able to do something other than Scully, so when someone is given my name they think, 'How does Scully fit into it? How does that seriousness or that aspect she brings to the screen fit in?' "

Faced with a choice between repetition or reinvention, she chose the latter, moving to London, where she had spent a decade as a child, and taking the first steps towards a transformation that is confirmed in the BBC's latest adaptation of Charles Dickens's Bleak House.

It is an outstanding adaptation from the pen of Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards, Tipping the Velvet), and Anderson, in a sweeping, powerful performance, easily silences her doubters. Boy, can she do more than Scully!